Make the most of each fundraising opportunity by offering recurring donation options to perspective donors on your website.

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Trying to raise money online for your organization, church or group can be difficult. Without the correct “web-tools” in place to help you capitalize on fundraising opportunities you could be missing out. If you’re like most organizations, you invest a lot of time and even a little money to create awareness about your fundraising efforts and causes on a regular basis.

It’s not easy getting others to give in general.  It can be especially hard online, even for the most worthy causes. The people that you do connect with make small donations and leave; never to be seen or heard from again! Sound familiar? Or maybe you’ve got one-time donations options already setup on your website and you’re researching new donation channels for your organization? Or perhaps you’re just trying to to establish some level of predictability for your fundraising to help budget for the future?

Whatever your reason might be for discovering this blog post, we’re glad you did. Setting up flexible recurring donations can make a BIG impact on fundraising. Adding a simple recurring donation widget to your website will allow visitors to give whatever they can afford AND select the frequency they wish to give (that last part being the key).

People often CAN afford to give “a little” every so often but will inevitably forget in today’s overly stimulating world. However, by offering website visitors the option of giving on a regular basis, you can gain so much more from each interaction. Collecting donations in a typical online payment scenario limits your opportunity to a single donation or interaction. In a post-recurring payment world, each interaction with a perspective donor has infinite opportunity.

Benefits of Recurring Donations

That’s the beauty of implementing recurring options for your online visitors; it maximizes the opportunity of each interaction because people can subscribe and donate automatically, on a schedule they choose. People can select the amount they wish to donate and the frequency (daily, weekly, monthly yearly or a custom schedule).  The system will then automatically collect the donations using their stored payment method on file (credit, debit, ACH, PayPal, etc).

We figured we would show you how to offer recurring donations specifically on the BigCommerce platform in a short tutorial below.
You’ll need the PayWhirl app for BigCommerce to get started.

Setting Up Recurring Donations on BigCommerce

In this example we’re going to setup a recurring donation widget. This will allow your customers to input any amount they wish for their donation (aka a flexible payment form). Then we’ll forward customers to a pricing table widget so they can select their desired frequency.

Set Up Donation Plans in PayWhirl

First, we need to create PLANS in PayWhirl for each frequency you would like your customer to be able to select (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or on specific dates). The plans will all cost $0 because we just want them to set the frequency of our subscription. We will forward people to another widget where they can input the amount they would like to donate.

Setup three frequency options for visitors to choose from:

Weekly – Plan should bill $0 every week and we’ll use no limit for the number of installments so it continues indefinitely.

Monthly – Plan should bill $0 every month and we’ll use no limit for the number of installments so it continues indefinitely.

Yearly – Plan should bill $0 every year and we’ll use no limit for the number of installments so it continues indefinitely.

Set Up Donation Widgets in PayWhirl

Once you have your plans setup we can move along to setup our “build-a-donation” checkout funnel. We will create two widgets to accomplish this:

Widget #1 – Pricing Table includes all three of your plans (frequency options) as sections in the widget.

Widget #2 – Payment Form with “flexible” selected for the type

After both widgets have been created, you can chain them together to create your funnel.  You do this using the “Forward to Widget” setting in the first widget to forward to the second. You’ll also want to make sure the clear cart on reload setting is set to NO in your pricing table widget (#2).

Embed Widget into Platform

The last step is to copy & paste the embedded code from your FIRST widget with 3 plans into a page on BigCommerce.  After doing this so visitors on your website can start donating on a recurring basis!

For more information please refer to our support doc on how to setup recurring donations. If you have any questions about recurring donations or implementing recurring payments for your business, church or organization please feel free to reach out to our support team.

Finally, we have a blog post with some sample thank you letters for donors here.